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Ambassador: 3-year-old Palestinian child mistakenly announced dead, alive in coma

July 1, 2016 11:53 A.M. (Updated: July 3, 2016 3:29 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian ambassador to Turkey Faed Mustafa announced an apology Friday for declaring a three-year-old Palestinian killed in Tuesday’s deadly attack on Turkey’s Ataturk airport, claiming that the child was instead alive and in intensive care suffering from a coma since the bomb blasts left shrapnel lodged in his head three days ago.

Mustafa said he mistook three-year-old Rayan Shreim for another child of a different nationality, and publicly apologized for the mistake.

Mustafa added that he hoped for the child’s recovery and for the recovery of another 17-year-old Palestinian girl who was also placed in intensive care in a hospital in Turkey after her stomach was hit with shrapnel.

Sundus Abed al-Halim Hashem from the city of Qalqiliya in the northern occupied West Bank was also killed in the attack, according to Mustafa, in addition to a Palestinian woman identified as Nisrin Hashim Shafee Hammad from the town of Arraba in the West Bank district of Jenin.

Mustafa reported on Wednesday that a Palestinian woman was killed and six other Palestinians were injured in the attacks, which took place late Tuesday night in Turkey’s busiest airport.

The injured Palestinians, Mustafa said at the time, included a baby girl and a teenage girl from Gaza who both remained in critical condition.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that a number of Palestinians had been reported missing in the wake of the attack.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned what he referred to as the “terrorist attacks” at Ataturk airport on Wednesday, which serves as Europe’s third-busiest airport in passenger traffic after London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle, serving 61.3 million passengers in 2015.

Turkey has seen numerous gun and bomb attacks over the past two years, which have been blamed on both Islamic State militants and Kurdish separatists.

Istanbul, Turkey’s economic and tourist hub, has been the site of four major terror attacks since the beginning of 2016, with a death toll of 62 and counting.

Though no group has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack so far, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the Turkish government suspected it likely came from the Islamic State. If confirmed, this would be the terrorist group’s largest attack in Turkey to date.
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